Kept too long beneath a stifling log,
flames like a dog’s tongue lick the evening dark.
Breaking out, devouring their oppressor—
Who’s master now?—they point to one clear shot
of sky, a circle of clear stars above,
angered skyward by red heat and air.
Composer Donald Wheelock began writing poems in his twenties, often for the purpose of setting them to music. Many of his poems soon declared their independence from that purpose, however. Now in his eighties, he has had considerable success submitting them to journals who welcome formal poetry. His first full length book, “It’s Hard Enough to Fly,” has just been issued by Kelsay Books. His chapbook, “In the Sea of Dreams,” is available from Gallery of Readers Press.